Corner icon Lectures Section image

Rudolf Steiner Archive 

Calendar of the Soul

Northern Hemisphere
Week 18

Can I expand my soul
That it unites itself
With cosmic Word received as seed?
I sense that I must find the strength
To fashion worthily my soul
As fitting raiment for the spirit.

Southern Hemisphere
Week 44

In reaching for new sense attractions,
Soul-clarity would fill,
Mindful of spirit-birth attained,
The world's bewildering, sprouting growth
With the creative will of my own thinking.

—Translation by Ruth and Hans Pusch

See GA 40 for full calendar and German text.

The Mission of the Archangel Michael
GA 194

IV. The Culture of the Mysteries and the Michael Impulse. Self-knowledge and its Permeation of the Three Strata of Consciousness

28 November 1919, Dornach

IN PURSUANCE of the considerations I placed before you in the lectures of last week I should like today to prepare the ground for what I shall develop in detail tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. It will be a matter of calling back to your memory, in a way different from the one heretofore employed, of much that we shall need in order to pursue our present theme.

If we try to make clear to ourselves the way in which Earth evolution unfolded we can do so best by considering and arranging the various events in relation to the central point of Earth evolution; for through such an arrangement we arrive at a certain structure in man's own evolution. This central point, this center of gravity is, as you know, the Mystery of Golgotha through which the whole Earth evolution received its meaning, its true inner content.

If we go back in the evolution of occidental humanity which received the impulse of the Mystery of Golgotha from the orient, we must say: approximately in the fifth century before the occurrence of the Mystery of Golgotha there begins, out of Greek culture, a kind of preparation for this Mystery of Golgotha. This uniform trend is introduced through the figure of Socrates, finds its continuation in Greek culture in its entirety — also in art the same trend is discernible — it is continued by the mighty and outstanding personality of Plato and receives a more scholarly character, as it were, in Aristotle.

You know from various lectures I delivered before you that the Middle Ages, mainly in the time after St. Augustine, were especially bent on using the guidance that could be gained from the Aristotelian mode of thinking in order to comprehend what prepared the Mystery of Golgotha and what followed it. Greek thinking became of such great importance precisely for the Christian evolution of the occident up to the end of the Middle Ages through the fact that it was used for the comprehension of the real nature of the Mystery of Golgotha. It is well that we should realize what it was that took place in Greece during these last centuries prior to the event of the Mystery of Golgotha.

What took place in the thinking, feeling and willing of the Greek was the last echo of a primeval culture of mankind no longer appreciated today. Historical considerations can no longer see these things in their proper light, for our historical considerations do not reach back to those times in which a Mystery culture that extended over the civilized earth of that age permeated all human willing and feeling. We must go back into those millennia into which history does not reach, we must go back with the methods which you find indicated in my book, Occult Science, an Outline, (Anthroposophic Press, New York) in order to see what was the nature of this human primeval culture. It had its origin in the ancient Mysteries into which those human beings who were found to be objectively suited for direct initiation were admitted by great leading personalities. The knowledge which was thus imparted to those initiates in the Mysteries flowed, through them, out to other human beings. One cannot understand ancient culture in its entirety if one does not focus one's attention upon the maternal soil of the Mysteries. If one is willing to do so, this maternal soil of the Mysteries can be clearly discerned in the works of Aeschylos. It can be sensed in Plato's philosophy. But the revelations concerning the Divine which mankind received from the Mysteries have been lost historically. Only in the most primitive fashion are they still contained in that which has become historically demonstrable culture. We can best judge what has happened here if we make clear to ourselves what it is that has remained, in the post-Socratean age of Greek civilization, of the primeval Mystery culture in which Greek civilization was rooted. What has remained is a certain mode of thinking, a certain way of visualizing.

As you know, outer history relates how Socrates founded dialectics, how he was the great teacher of thinking, of that thinking which, later on, Aristotle developed in a more scientific way. But this Greek mode of thinking is only the last echo of the Mystery culture, for this culture of the Mysteries was rich in content. Spiritual facts which are the fundamental causes for our cosmic order were adopted into man's entire view of things. These sublime and mighty contents were gradually lost. But the way of thinking developed by the Mystery pupils has remained and has become historical, first, in Greek thinking, then, again, in Medieval thinking, in the thinking of the Christian theologians who acquired this Greek thinking in order to grasp with the thought forms, with the ideas and concepts which were a continuation of Greek thinking, that which has flowed into the world through the Mystery of Golgotha. Medieval philosophy, so-called scholasticism, is a confluence of the spiritual truths of the Mystery of Golgotha and Greek thinking. The elaboration, the thought-penetration of the Mystery of Golgotha has been carried out — if I may use the trivial expression — with the tool of Greek thinking, of Greek dialectics. Up to the Mystery of Golgotha, about four and one half centuries elapsed from the time when the content of the Mysteries was lost and the merely formal element, the mere thought element of the ancient Mysteries was retained. We may say, approximately, four and one half centuries. Thus we have to visualize the following: In a pre-historical age, the culture of the Mysteries extends over the civilized earth of that time. In the course of evolution only a distillate of it remains, namely, Greek dialectics, Greek thinking. Then the Mystery of Golgotha takes place. In the occident this is, at the outset, comprehended by means of this Greek dialectics. Anyone who wishes to familiarize himself with the science, let us say, even of the tenth, the eleventh, the twelfth, the thirteenth, the fourteenth century, which still comprises theology, must employ his thinking in a way that is quite different from the present-day natural-scientific mode of thought. Most human beings who today pass an opinion on scholasticism cannot do it justice because they only have a natural-scientific training, and scholasticism requires a training of thought that is different from modern natural-scientific training.

Now, my dear friends, today we live at a point of time in which again four and one half centuries have elapsed since this natural-scientific mode of thinking took hold of mankind. In the middle of the fourteenth century, human beings of the Occident begin to think in the way we find developed, already to the degree of brilliancy, in Galileo or in Giordana Bruno. This, then, is carried over into our age. Indeed, my dear friends, it is, seemingly, the same logic as that of the Greeks; yet, in reality, it is a completely different logic. It is a logic which is gradually derived from the nature processes in the way the Greek logic was derived from that which the Mystery pupils beheld in the Mysteries.

Let us now try to make clear to ourselves the difference that exists between the four and one half centuries prior to the event of the Mystery of Golgotha in the civilized world of that time, which was almost limited to Greece, and the four and one half centuries in which humanity was trained for natural-scientific thinking. It is easiest for me to describe this to you graphically. Visualize the culture of the Mysteries like a kind of mountain summit of human spiritual culture in very ancient times. This culture of the Mysteries — I shall proceed step by step — then becomes logic in Greece, up to the Mystery of Golgotha. This, then, finds its continuation in the Middle Ages through scholasticism.

During four and one half centuries prior to the Mystery of Golgotha we have the last ramification, the echo of the ancient Mystery culture. With the fifteenth century A.D. a new way of thinking begins which we might call thinking in the style of Galileo. The period of time that elapsed between this starting point and our present day is of the same length as that which elapsed between the appearance of the Greek way of thinking and the Mystery of Golgotha. But while the latter period is a final echo, an evening glow, as it were, the former is a prelude, something that has to be evolved, that has to be brought to a certain height. Greek culture stood at an end. We stand at a beginning.

We shall only gain a complete understanding of this placing, side by side, of an end and a beginning if we observe the evolution of mankind from a certain spiritual-scientific point of view.

I have repeatedly stated that it is not without reason that in the present age the attempt toward self-knowledge of mankind is made, the tools for which are offered by the anthroposophically-oriented spiritual science. For the large majority of mankind confronts a significant future possibility. In this connection it is important that we take seriously the fact that the evolving historical humanity is an organism that develops continuously. Just as in the case of the single organism we have puberty, and also later epochal transitions, so likewise, in human history, we have epochal transitions. Today, human beings still meet the doctrine of repeated earth lives with the objection that human beings do not remember their previous earth lives.

Anyone who, in a factual manner, conceives of the evolutionary history of mankind as of an organism, as I have just indicated, should not be surprised that human beings do not today, in their ordinary knowledge, remember their former earth lives. For I ask you: what does man remember in ordinary life? That which he first has thought. What he has not thought he cannot remember. Just think how many events of a day remain unobserved by you. You do not remember them because you did not think them in spite of their having taken place in your surroundings. You can only remember what you have thought.

Now, in the former centuries and millennia of mankind's evolution, human beings did not attain to any factual clarity about their own nature. To be sure, since the appearance of Greek thinking the “know thyself” exists like a longing, but this “know thyself” will only be fulfilled through real spiritual cognition. Only through the fact that human beings once employ one life in order to comprehend in thought their own self — and humanity has only become ripe for this in our age — is memory prepared for the next earth life. For we must first have thought about that which we are to remember later. Only those who, in earlier ages, through initiation (which need not have been acquired in the Mysteries) could look factually upon their own self are able in the present age to look back upon former earth lives. And there are not so few human beings who are able to do this. Nevertheless, the situation is such that man, also with respect to his purely bodily evolution, undergoes a transformation. These things cannot be observed externally in physiology, but they can be observed spiritual-scientifically. Mankind today does not have the same bodily constitution it had two thousand years ago, and in two thousand years from today it will again have a different constitution. I have talked to you about this subject repeatedly. Human beings live toward a time in the future in which their brains will be constructed in a way that is quite different from the way their brains are constructed today in an external sense. The brain will have the possibility of remembering former earth lives. But those who have not prepared themselves today through reflection upon their own self will sense this faculty — which will be theirs mechanically — merely as an inner nervousness, if I may use the current expression, as an inner deficiency. They will not find what they are lacking, because mankind in the meantime will have become ripe, in regard to its corporeality, to look back upon its previous earth lives, but if it has not prepared this retrospect, it cannot look back; it then will sense this faculty only as a deficiency. Therefore, proper knowledge of the present-day powers of transformation of mankind indicates by its very nature that human beings are brought to self-knowledge through the anthroposophically-oriented spiritual science. Now, it is possible, and today I shall only indicate this, it is possible to point out the nature of this special experience which will suggest to human beings to take into account previous earth lives.

Today we live in an age in which those shades of feeling which will become more and more prevalent are indicated only in a few human beings; but still, they are indicated in these few human beings. Not much attention is paid to them yet. I shall describe them to you in the way in which they will appear eventually. Human beings will be born into the world and they will say to themselves: by living with other human beings, I am educated, consciously or unconsciously, for a certain way of thinking. Thoughts arise in me. I am born into and educated for a certain way of thinking, of visualizing. But at the same time I look at my outer surroundings: my thinking, my visualizing does not properly fit this outer surrounding world. — this shade of feeling is already present today in individual human beings. They must think in a direction which makes it appear to them as if outer nature said something entirely different, as if outer nature demanded something completely different from them. Whenever such human beings appeared that have felt this discrepancy between what they must think and what external nature says, they have been ridiculed. Hegel, for instance, is a classical example for this. He has expressed certain thoughts about nature — and not all of Hegel's thoughts are foolish! — and has arranged them systematically. Then the philistines came and said: Well, these are your ideas concerning nature; but just look at this or that process in nature: it does not agree with your ideas. Then Hegel answered: Too bad for nature!

Naturally, this seems paradoxical; nevertheless, subjectively this feeling is well founded. It is absolutely possible that one surrenders, without prejudice, to one's innate thinking and says: if nature were really to correspond to this thinking, she would have to take on a different form. To be sure, after some time one will also become accustomed to that which nature teaches. Most people who find themselves in such a position do not notice that by having acquired nature observation they really bear two souls within themselves, two truths, as it were. Those who do notice it may suffer greatly from this discrepancy brought into their soul life. What I am describing to you here and which is present in some human beings today although they are not aware of it will become ever more present. Human beings will say to themselves more and more: through what I am by birth, my head really forces me to form a picture about nature. But this does not coincide with nature herself. Then, as I become more familiar with life, I also acquire in the course of time what nature herself teaches. I must find a way out of this.

These discordant sensations will arise in our souls when they return again to earth. A source of inner thoughts and sensations will arise in us which will cause us to say: you sense clearly how the world ought to be; it is, however, different. Then, again, we shall familiarize ourselves with this world; we shall learn to know a second kind of law, and we shall have to seek a balance between the two.

Let us assume the human being enters physical existence through birth. He brings with him in his thinking and feeling the result of his previous earth life. While he was not united with the life of the earth, this external earth life has actually undergone a change. He senses a discrepancy between his thinking, the effects of which he brings from his previous life, and the things as they have developed in the period during which he was absent from the earth. His thinking does not harmonize with them. And now gradually he adjusts himself to his new life, but he does by no means completely take up into this consciousness what he may learn from his surroundings. He only takes it up as though through a veil. He elaborates it only after death, and then, again, carries it into his next life. Man will constantly live in this duality of his soul life. He will always become aware of the following: You are bringing with you something in regard to which the world into which you have grown through birth is new. But through your physical being you now receive something from this world which does not completely penetrate your soul, which you will have to work over, however, after death.

The human being of the present day ought to become thoroughly acquainted with the way of experiencing life. For only by familiarizing himself with such a thing does he become aware of the forces which pulse through our existence and which otherwise remain entirely unnoticed. We are drawn into the web of these forces. But if we do not try to penetrate them with our consciousness, they make us to a certain degree sick in our soul. This falling apart the human being will perceive more and more: the falling apart of that which has stayed with him from the previous life and that which is prepared in the present life for the next one. And since man will sense this duality more and more, he will be in need of an inner mediation, a real inner mediation. And the great question will become ever more burning: Where must we look for this inner mediation? We can only find an answer to this question if we consider the following:

I have often told you that we human beings are completely awake only in our thinking in the period between awaking and falling asleep of ordinary life. The life of thought means complete wakefulness. We are not completely awake, even in waking life, in regard to our feelings. Our feelings are at the stage of dream consciousness, even though we are fully awake in our conceptions and thoughts. He who is able to make research in this field knows through direct perception that feelings have no greater vitality than have dreams; only, the conception through which feelings are represented makes it appear differently. But the life of feelings as such arises out of the depths of consciousness like the surging up of dreams. And the actual life of will is asleep in us, even in our waking life; in regard to the will we are asleep. Thus, also in waking life, we carry these three states of consciousness within us. During the day, we walk around with a waking life of thoughts; we deceive ourselves in believing that we are awake also in our will because we have thoughts about that which the will performs. Not the experience of the will itself, but only its mental image is what enters our consciousness. We dream our feelings, we sleep our willing. But if imaginative knowledge raises up what otherwise dreams in the feelings and makes it a matter of complete, clear world cognition, then we become aware of the fact that wisdom is contained not only in our thoughts — let us call it “wisdom” although with many human beings it is “un-wisdom” — but that wisdom is also contained in our feelings, and that it is also contained in our willing. In regard to present-day human existence we can only speak clearly about that which is contained in our thought life. In regard to the world of feelings mankind today entertains thoughts which hardly differ from those it entertains in regard to dream life; and yet, wisdom is also contained in the life of feeling.

My dear friends, the person who earnestly applies to his own soul the exercises which are described in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment (Anthroposophic Press, New York) will come closest to experiencing a certain inner soul-surging which takes its course in a dreamlike manner, as it were. For most human beings it will not contain more regularity than ordinary dreaming; but it is possible, at a comparatively early moment, to bring so much order into this inner experiencing that one becomes aware of the fact that, although this inner experience is not governed by ordinary logic — indeed, it is sometimes governed by a very grotesque logic, and the most varied fragments of thought arrange themselves and occur in a dreamlike fashion — one becomes aware of the fact that something real takes place there. This first inner experience, which is still very primitive, may be recognized by the one who applies, even to some degree, to his own soul life what has been described in my book, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment. When the human being dives down into this surging of waking dreams, a new reality emerges in contrast to the ordinary reality of external life. Comparatively soon the human being may become aware of this arising of a new reality. And also comparatively soon may he become aware that wisdom is contained in all this, but a wisdom he cannot take hold of, for which he does not feel himself mature enough to become fully conscious of it. It escapes him time and again, and he does not understand it. But he becomes aware, or at least, may become aware of the fact that wisdom does not only flow through the upper stratum of his consciousness which permeates him in ordinary waking day-life, but that below this there lies another stratum of his consciousness which appear illogical to him for the simple reason that he himself calls it that since he cannot yet take hold of its wisdom. We may say: the moment we have completely acquired imaginative cognition, these waking dreams cease to be as grotesque as they appear to ordinary life; they then permeate themselves with a wisdom that points to another content of reality, to a world different from the sense world which we fathom with ordinary wisdom.

You see, my dear friends, in ordinary life only the world of feeling surges up into our every-day consciousness out of this substratum of our consciousness. And out of a still deeper stratum, which lies below the one just mentioned, there surges up the world of will which is also permeated by wisdom. We are connected with this wisdom, but we are not at all aware of it in ordinary consciousness. Thus we may say: We human beings are governed by three strata of consciousness. The first is our conceptual consciousness in which we live every day. The second is an imaginative consciousness. And the third is an inspired consciousness which remains very deeply hidden, which works in us, to be sure, but whose nature we do not recognize in ordinary life. If only modern philosophy were less perplexed in its concepts — I am not referring here to people who have nothing to do with philosophy, but philosophers should grasp such matters, yet they refuse to do so — if only modern philosophy were less confused it would have to notice the great difference that exists between truths that are arrived at purely upon the basis of external observation of nature and the truths that are found in the sciences, such as mathematics and geometry, which are employed in the endeavor to understand external nature.

We are in a sense justified in saying that in regard to the truths which man acquires through external observation — this has so often been stressed in the history of philosophy that a special reference to it ought to be superfluous for the philosopher — in regard to the truths of external observation we can never speak of actual certainty. Kant and Hume have elaborated this especially clearly by their grotesque assertion that, although it is true that we observe that the sun rises, we cannot, however, assert from this observation that the sun will rise again tomorrow; we only can conclude from the fact that the sun has risen up to now every day that is will also rise tomorrow. This is the way with all truths which we derive from external observation. But it is not so in the case of mathematical truths. If we have once grasped them we know they are valid for all future times. Whoever knows and is able to prove, out of inner reasons, that the square above the hypotenuse equals the sum of the square of the two other sides of the right-angled triangle knows that it would be impossible to draw a rectangular triangle for which this law does not hold good.

These mathematical truths are different from the truths we arrive at through external observations; we know the facts, but with the means of present-day research we are unable to grasp the underlying reason. The reason is to be found in the fact that mathematical truths originate deep down in the inner being of man, that they arise on the third level of consciousness, in the lowest stratum and, without his being aware of it, shoot up into man's upper consciousness, where he then perceives them inwardly. We possess mathematical truths through the fact that we ourselves behave mathematically in the world. We walk, we stand, and so forth; we describe certain lines on the earth. Through this will relationship to the external world we actually receive the inner perception of mathematics. Mathematics arises below in the third consciousness and shoots up from there.

Conceptual life: Complete Wakefulness: Wisdom

Feeling: Dreaming: Wisdom

Will: Sleeping: Wisdom

I. Conceptual Life

II. Imaginations

III. Inspirations

Thus, although we are not conscious of its origin, we have very clear concepts of at least one part of this lowest stratum of consciousness: we are aware of the mathematical and geometrical concepts. The middle stratum is of a dreamlike and confused character. And here, “in the upper story,” where the day-waking conceptual life takes place, we are clear again. What plays up from the third stratum of consciousness is also clear in us. What lies between the two reaches most human beings like a confused waking dreaming. It is very significant that we should make this fact clear to ourselves. For, you see, the Greeks, during the four and one half centuries (number one), which they had retained as the remainder of the Mystery culture. And this is a purely Luciferic element. I have described it to you recently: it is the intellectualistic culture. Clarity rules in our head. It is permeated by wisdom, generally valid wisdom. But this is the Luciferic element in us.

And, again, that which exists here below and which is so much beloved by modern scientists and was so much beloved by Kant that he said: in regard to nature, science exists only in as far as it contains mathematics — this is the purely Ahrimanic element, which arises from below through our human nature. It is the Ahrimanic element.

It does not suffice, my dear friends, to know of something that it is correct. We know that the things we comprehend intellectually through our head are correct; but this is a gift of the Luciferic element. And we know that mathematics is correct; but this sovereign correctness of mathematics we owe to Ahriman who sits in us. The most uncertain element is in the middle. It consists of seemingly illogical, billowing dreams.

I will describe to you another symptom so that you may grasp the full significance of this matter. In reality, the whole mathematical conception of the world as it arose with Galileo and Giordano Bruno stems from this deepest stratum of consciousness. Four and one half centuries have elapsed since we have begun to acquire this world conception, since we have begun to introduce this Ahrimanic element into our human thinking and sensing. Whereas in Greek thinking the last echo of the Mystery culture shone into the clearest brightness of consciousness, there arises in our deepest, darkest strata of consciousness that which only in the future will reach its climax. This is beginning to arise down there.

I. Conceptual Life (Lucifer)

II. Imaginations (consciousness)

III. Inspirations (Ahriman)

Our soul life is like a scale beam which has to try to establish equilibrium, on one hand the Luciferic, on the other the Ahrimanic element. The Luciferic element lies in our clear head, the Ahrimanic element below in the wisdom which permeates our will. Between the two, we have to try to establish a state of balance in an element which at first does not seem to be permeated by anything.

How does wisdom enter this middle part of man? Man is placed in the world at present in such a way that his head is supported by Lucifer, his metabolic wisdom, his limb-wisdom by Ahriman. That which we have described as the middle state of consciousness is dependent upon our heart organization and the human rhythmical system (read what I saw concerning this fact in my book, Von Seelenraetseln). This sphere of our existence must gradually become just as ordered as the head wisdom became ordered through logic and the Ahrimanic wisdom through mathematics, geometry, through external rational nature observation. What will bring inner logic, inner wisdom, inner power of orientation into this middle part of our human nature? The Christ impulse, that which passed over into the earth culture through the Mystery of Golgotha.

Thus you see, we have a spiritual-scientific anatomy which shows us what is culture of the head, what is culture of metabolism, which also shows us the nature and needs of that sphere of our organism which lies between the two. That man permeates himself with the Christ impulse is a requisite part of his nature.

Let us for a moment hypothetically assume that the Mystery of Golgotha had not entered Earth evolution: the human being would have his head wisdom. He also would have what has arisen since the fifteenth century A.D. But in regard to his central being he would be desolate and void. He would feel more and more the disagreement between the two inner spheres mentioned above. He would be unable to bring about the state of equilibrium. We can only bring about this state of equilibrium by permeating ourselves more and more with the Christ impulse which calls forth the state of balance between the Luciferic and Ahrimanic element.

From this you will see that we may say: In the pre-Christian four and one half centuries there was bestowed upon the human being, like a preparation for the Mystery of Golgotha, the last ramification of the ancient Mystery culture, which has settled like a head-memory of this ancient culture. And in our modern age, the human being passed through four and one half centuries of preparation for a new spirit direction, for a new kind of Mystery culture. But in order that these two might be connected in the historical evolution of mankind, the Mystery of Golgotha had to take place as an objective fact in mankind's evolution. Internally, however, this evolution takes its course in such a way that human beings grow and develop until, beginning with the fifteenth century A.D. they receive the new impulse which I have characterized as an Ahrimanic impulse, and through which they will feel more and more: we need the possibility of building a bridge between the two periods.

In this way we may inwardly comprehend the threefold human being. And we shall comprehend him still more accurately if we join to what I have said today something which I have repeatedly mentioned. It was impossible for the ancient Greeks who retained the remnants of ancient Mystery culture to be an atheist — although it happened in a few abnormal cases, but not to the degree it occurs today. Atheism has only arisen in more recent times, at least in its radical form. For the Greek who was really imbued with dialectics felt the Divine holding sway in thinking, even in thinking void of content.

If we know this and then look upon the appearance of atheism, upon the complete denial of the Divine, we shall find the reason for this atheism. Only those human beings, my dear friends — naturally, we need the methods of spiritual science in order to recognize this — only those human beings are atheists in whose organism something is organically disturbed. To be sure, this may lie in very delicate structural conditions, but it is a fact that atheism is in reality a disease.

This is the first thing we have to hold fast: atheism is a disease. For, if our organism is completely healthy, the harmonious functioning of its various members will bring it about that we ourselves sense our origin from the Divine — ex deo nascimur.

The second point, to be sure, is something different. Man may sense the Divine but may have no possibility to sense the Christ. In this respect we do not differentiate carefully enough today. We are satisfied with words, also in other spheres. For, if we test today the actual spiritual content of the view of many human beings of the occident and are not influenced by their words — they say they agree with Christian precepts, they believe in the freedom of the will, and so forth — we shall find that the whole configuration of their thinking contradicts what they thus express. Only through their participation in cultural life have they become accustomed to speak of Christ, of freedom, and so forth. In reality, my dear friends, a great number of human beings living among us are nothing but Turks; for the content of their faith is the same as the fatalistic content of faith of the Mohammedans — although this fatalism is often described as a necessity of nature. Mohammedanism is much more prevalent than we think. If we do not focus our attention upon the words but upon the spirit-soul content, we shall find that many Christians are Turks. They call themselves “Christians” even though they cannot find the transition from the God they sense to the Christ.

I only need to draw your attention to the classical example of a modern theologian, Adolf Harnack, who wrote the book, Wesen des Christentums. (Essence of Christianity.) Please, make the following test: scratch out in this book the name of Christ wherever it occurs and replace it by the name of God, this will change nothing in the content of this book. There is no necessity that what this man states should refer to the Christ. What he states refers to the general Father god who lies at the foundation of the world. There is no need at all that he should refer to the Christ with what he states. Wherever he proves something it is externally and internally untrue as he borrows the various communications from the Gospels. In the way he elaborates these communications there can be seen no reason whatsoever for connecting them with the Christ. We must acquire the possibility of conceiving of the Christ in such a way that we do not identify Him with the Father god. Many of the modern evangelical theologians are no longer able to differentiate between the general concept of God and the concept of the Christ. To be unable to find the Christ in life is a different matter from being unable to find the Father God — You know that it is not here a matter of doubting the Divinity of the Christ. It is a matter of clear differentiation, in the sphere of the Divine, between the Father God and the Christ God. This comes to expression in the soul of man. Not to find God the Father is a disease; not to find the Christ is a misfortune. For the human being is so connected with the Christ as to be inwardly dependent upon this connection. He is, however, also dependent upon that which has taken place as a historical event. He must find a connection with the Christ here upon earth, in external life. If he does not find it is a misfortune. Not to find the Father god, to be an atheist, is an illness. Not to find the Son God, the Christ, is a misfortune.

And what does it mean if we do not find the Spirit? To be unable to take hold of one's own spirituality in order to find the connection of one's own spirituality with the spirituality of the world signifies mental debility; not to acknowledge the Spirit is a deficiency of mind, a psychic imbecility.

Please remember these three deficiencies of the human soul constitution. Then we shall be able to continue tomorrow in the right way. Remember what I have told you today about the three kinds of consciousness; remember that it is a disease if we are an atheist, if we do not find the God out of whom we are born and whom we must find if we possess a completely sound organism; that it is a misfortune if we do not find the Christ; that it is a psychic deficiency if we do not find the Spirit.

This is also the way in which the paths that lead man to the Trinity differ from one another. It will become more and more necessary for mankind to enter into these concrete facts of soul life and not to remain stuck in general, nebulous notions. People are specially inclined today toward these nebulous notions. To replace this inclination by the inclination to enter into concrete facts of soul life is an essential task of our age.

Support Our Services

The Archive is a "pay what you can" service. If you or your organization use and value our work, please consider making a financial contribution. Visit our Help Out page for additional ways to support us. Thank you!

Please Donate!